cat, time, and curiosity

Not sure how I ended up at the Australian Skeptics while I was researching for information about Project Numbat for my Science Communication Strategies assignment. But that’s the internet.

It was fortuitous, because I just adore the image of “Cat, Time and Curiosity” painted by Marcio Melo that was used to draw attention to Dr. Bob’s Skeptical Quiz.

Cat, Time and Curiosity
Cat, Time and Curiosity Marcio Melo 2004
Acrylic on canvas 30″ × 24″ (76 cm × 61 cm)

Cat, Time and Curiosity is part of an exhibition of paintings titled Feline Fantasy. Marcio Melo writes:

Cats are often included in my paintings. Whether they are the focus of the composition, lying in a ball in the corner or just another object in a still life, you will find cats in many of my works. This is just a reflection of real life, where cats figure in the same way – sometimes the focus of my attention, or sometimes a creature lurking in the background.

We have three cats: Clemmie, Midnight, and Shelby. I cannot say they are included in my work, as are Katie and Willow included in Marcio Melo’s paintings, but they continue to be a source of comfort and delight as I go about my work.


Clemmie is pictured here after being encouraged to face the camera after chewing the nearby Ponytail Palm. Her body is slim like that of a siamese, as is her voice, being very vocal when she wants to be.

Clemmie became a member of our family in 2001. We bacame the custodian of Clemmie when Kerry, who I consider one of my best friends died in hospital from not being able to overcome the debilitating progression of Multiple Scelerosis. Clemmie is named after Winston Churchill’s wife, Clementine. Kerry explained to me when she first got Clemmie, that Winston Churchill’s pet name for his wife was Cat.


Midnight I ‘rescued’ from the Sandringham Hotel, which overlooks the Swan River in Belmont, Perth Western Australia. When I was there for a meeting, I saw this skinny cat walking backwards and forwards on the window sill. I had to provide a character reference to the barmaid that was feeding her at the time from the hotel kitchen. This included the name and phone number of the vet that we used. Suffice to say, Dr Jensen told me that she was astonished to be contacted to provide details of my capability to look after a new cat.

Although she would claim that she is fluffy (and she is), she is also very plump. The white whisker on the right side of her face grew very strongly after she had her right broken incisor tooth removed.


We adopted Shelby as a mature cat from the Cat Haven after losing a much loved cat was run over by a car. She had a sign on her cage that she liked cuddles. And she does, when she wants them.

Shelby is very much the matriarch of our pride of cats, but unfortunately is beginning to be very much the older cat. She is now very much a high maintenance cat, needing two types of tablets, one twice a day (for feline hyperthyroidism), and the other once per day (for her heart racing that the vet could not measure).

I cannot imagine not having cats, but I think Clemmie, Midnight, and Shelby may well be our last. Shelby’s need of tablets for the term of her natural life, scheduled tooth extraction in the near future, and the ongoing healthcare for all three cats to maintain a good quality of life is increasingly expensive. Also, I feel that most of the up-keep is going to pharmaceutical companies, and not the veterinarians.

Marcio Melo’s paintings have given me pause for thought as I have come to terms with caring for Clemmie, Midnight and Shelby as they enter their twilight years.


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